Philosophy professor to teach in Romania

IUS Horizon

Bryan Hall
Bryan Hall, assistant professor of philosophy, teaches class on Immanuel Kant’s theories on war.

It’s approximately 5,322.814 miles from IU Southeast to the University of Bucharest.  Bryan Hall, assistant professor of philosophy, received one of the seven Fulbright Scholarships awarded in the US for Romania and will spend the 2010-11 school year teaching and researching at the University of Bucharest.

The Fulbright Scholarship was established in 1946 by J. William Fulbright, Senator from Arkansas, as a means of increasing understanding between cultures worldwide. A total of approximately 7,500 grants are awarded to individuals from more than 155 countries annually.

Hall’s award is through the core Fulbright Scholar Program, which makes him one of the 800 people in the U.S. each year to receive an award.

Hall arrived at IU Southeast in the fall of 2006 after a year working as a visiting professor at Virginia Tech University, and he said he likes the atmosphere.

“The small class sizes give me the opportunity to work with the students,” Hall said.

He also said he thinks the makeup of the student body at IU Southeast enhances the learning experience.

“I like working with non-traditional students because they provide a unique experience in the classroom,” Hall said.

Hall said he enjoys teaching philosophy because he can help students improve a variety of skills, even if they don’t remember specific theories later in their lives.

“I enjoy helping them to develop their critical thinking, ethical reasoning and active reading skills,” Hall said.  “If they develop these skills, they will serve them well for the rest of their lives.”

Hall grew up in Longmont, Colo., which is just outside of Boulder, Colo.

In high school, Hall finished all the college-level courses his school offered and was given permission to take classes at the University of Colorado, in Boulder.

There, Hall took a philosophy class and decided it was a field he wanted to study more in-depth.

“I had a really good teacher,” Hall said.  “I decided this is what I wanted to do and I geared all my energies toward it.”

After high school, Hall attended the University of Denver and received his degree in philosophy in 1998 before going back to UCB and receiving his doctorate in 2005.

Hall said he likes the area and appreciates the fact that there are four seasons.

“At home, we only have winter and summer,” Hall said.

Hall lives in New Albany and also said he likes the opportunities and options he has living so close to Louisville.

“It’s nice living next to a pretty large metropolitan area with all the arts and culture,” Hall said.

Hall met his wife, Ana Sarbu, while studying in Germany. Sarbu grew up in Bucharest and was also studying in Germany on a fellowship.

A year after they met, the two switched continents for a year when Hall received his first Fulbright Scholarship to study and write his dissertation in Germany and Sarbu received a violin scholarship at UCB.

Sarbu is now a violinist and concert master with the orchestra at IU Southeast.

The application process for Hall’s second Fulbright Scholarship was a long and difficult one.

“It is extremely competitive because it is one of the oldest and most prestigious international exchange scholarships,” Hall said.  “I had to describe the courses I wanted to teach and how I think I could provide an American perspective to Romania.”

George Harvey, assistant of philosophy, said the opportunity to work abroad will give Hall the opportunity to improve in different aspects of his professional life.

“For a scholar in his position it’s going to help his development as a teacher and as a researcher,” Harvey said.  “He will be working with different types of students with a different culture and it will give him a lot of challenges and opportunities.”

Hall said he chose Romania for a variety of reasons.

“I’ve spent a lot of time there and decided I have a lot to offer and a lot to gain,” Hall said.

Hall will be teaching in English but hopes to improve his Romanian, which he said is good enough.

The focus of Hall’s research will be the work of Immanuel Kant, an influential German philosopher from the 18th Century.  Hall will be looking specifically at Kant’s Opus Postumum, a work which Hall said has not been researched.

Harvey said Hall’s Kant research will be aided by an Eastern European view, which can vary by region.

“Wide-ranging views and approaches can be geographical in nature and can be quite different,” Harvey said.

“Immersing himself in that type of environment will open different viewpoints in his scholarly work,” he said

By DERRICK HOLDRIDGE

Staff Writer

dvholdri@umail.iu.edu